Month: March 2015

Abnormal Mapping 25: I’ll Buy a Wicker Basket (Put Games in It, and Think of You)

DOUBLE INDEMNITY FINAL

The Mappers take on a special guest in this very special episode, as Heather Alexandra comes onto the cast to join us on our journey through the path of the spirit. We brave forests, destroy ships, run nightclubs, and manage to recite a poem or two in remembrance of classic adventure game Grim Fandango! No fancy intro this time, just good old fashion podcasting about a classic game! I hope you enjoy!

Art for this episode was done by Matthew, who fancies himself an amateur artist when he’s not hosting this podcast.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Heather Alexandra can be found on twitter (@transgamerthink) and at her blog. You can find her Skies of Arcadia video here.

Reading List Additions: Justice Points and Major Third

Games Discussed: Goldvision Pacifist GTA Online, Skies Of Arcadia, Far Cry 3, Beyond: Two Souls, Heavy Rain, Dead Island, Bloodborne, Cave Cave Deus Videt

This Month’s Game Club: Grim Fandango

Next Month’s Game Club: Elegy for a Dead World

Music This Episode
Blown Away by Kevin McLeod
Rubacava by Peter McConnell
Casino Calavera by Peter McConnell
Manny & Meche by Peter McConnell
She Sailed Away by Peter McConnell
Bone Wagon by Peter McConnell

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Let’s Play: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Cocoon has fallen. The fal’Cie are dead. The day is saved. Or is it? Serah wakes up with a memory of a world that doesn’t exist, and a happy ending that seemingly never happened. So when a strange boy arrives with tales of timelines and of the missing Lightning fighting an eternal struggle in the distant future, Serah takes up the mantle of hero of her own story.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the sequel to one of the most derided games in the Final Fantasy series, released shortly after FF13 in 2012. This time-hopping sequel mixes up the locations and systems of FF13 into a ridiculous adventure that aims to answer many of the criticisms of the prior game. It was released on PC in late 2014, and you can find more at http://www.finalfantasy13-2game.com/

A&I: Balance

Direction2Originally, I’d written a long and detailed post for the ‘introspection’ part of this article, diving into what’s been going on in my head the last few weeks, but at the last minute, I deleted everything! There are some things even I don’t feel comfortable sharing, at least not without someone to read them first and let me know that everything’s a-okay.

It’s weirdly exhausting being as open, publically. I’m not going to change, I don’t want to change, being closed off is equally draining for me, but I’d be hard pressed to say my writing isn’t a temporary solution. I want to find a more emotionally stable centre of being eventually, though that’s going to take a long time, and lots of hard work.

In the meantime, I’ve been playing some games in the cracks between my overwhelming moments, and for the most part they’ve been incredibly calming. Spoilers for the list ahead, but one of them is Softelevision, a game which has an infectious optimism that I can’t help but wish for within myself.

So, enjoy another tour through some altgames I’ve been playing, I think all of them are at least worth your time. I hope they help you, too.

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Morning Mario: Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. needs no introduction, except when it does. It’s one of the most instantly recognizable games of all time, but on its 30th anniversary, it’s begun to exist to a younger generation as more of a cultural icon and reference point than a tangible and known work of art in and of itself. Games culture has such little respect for history that whilst it will mine the past for its concepts and brands, it won’t allow people to look away from the road lined with fetishistic notions of technological progress, lest they realize the shining lights ahead are merely distractions.

Morning Mario is my attempt to rectify this. The concept is simple: I’m going to play Mario every single morning. I’ll play one set of lives, and each day I’ll get a little better, and make it a little further. I have no end date in sight, merely a finish line in the distance, and no way to tell what form the journey will take. (more…)

Game Gallery: How Do You Do It? by Nina Freeman and Emmett Butler

How Do You Do It? is a game about exploring the murky idea of sexuality through the eyes of a child trying to jam her dolls into some configuration that will unlock the secrets of adulthood. Created by Nina Freeman and Emmett Butler, How Do You Do It? is an IGF Finalist and a beautiful game that you can play on Steam or her website.

Special guest Destiny Sturdivant is co-host of feminist junk culture podcast Badland Girls and frequent third chair on Abnormal Mapping.

Let’s Play: Batman Arkham Asylum

With this LP, I’m going to be doing something a little different. Instead of my reactions to a game that I’ve never played before, I’m revisiting a game I’ve both played and enjoyed, which gives this Let’s Play a far more critical tone to it. It’s not quite a Let’s Crit (for an example of those, please check out Heather Alexandra), but it’s at least a more analytical approach, and I think you’ll find this series really interesting!

Batman: Arkham Asylum is the 2009 game by Rocksteady, the first in the Arkham series, and it’s pretty excellent. The series, in my opinion, immediately went entirely to crap in the second game, and according to Matt it fell into the depths of hell by its third instalment. I’m gonna look at what made that first game so special, so we can better understand what went so wrong.

The episode art was done by Matt, and it is excellent! Here is the high res version for those that would like it (omg look at how cute I am):

JacksonBatmanHighlightShadow


Jackson’s work on Abnormal Mapping is funded by Patreon. If you enjoy it, and want to see it continue, then click here to help fund him!

A&I: A Moment To Breathe

Planet

It’s been a while.

February has been somewhat of a rollercoaster month for me, and I’ve been almost entirely unable to find the time to play games, let alone write about them. And in those moments where my plate was empty, it was difficult to focus on any kind of relaxation. I often come back to this one Lana Polansky article (I think it’s the most mentioned article on this entire website at this point, which should tell you a lot about Matt and I) about Wasting Time, to attempt to overcome my own insecurities about productivity. It’s difficult for my brain to reach a place where I can centre whatever is in front of me, rather than retreating in panic into my to do list.

It’s good to be back into the swing of things, but I know my head’s barely above water. So it is for all of us who are poor and struggling, every iota of energy that doesn’t keep us moving forward could be the one we needed to stop us from drowning, as we look at those sailing past us and wonder why we have to swim at all. When I am seemingly unable to work, to earn, then what is the purpose of play? (more…)